Monday, 15 June 2015

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Series: Monsters in the Dark
Author: Pepper Winters
Page Count: 376
Published: August 30th, 2013
Publisher: Pepper Winters
  5 Stars ★★★★★

Tess goes on vacation with her boyfriend, Brax. He is sweet and gentle, but isn't really open to her kinky fantasies. Tess feels horrible when Brax reacts negatively to her suggestions, and decides that she will no longer bring up the subject.

While visiting a sketchy restaurant, Tess finds herself kidnapped and thrown into a room with several other women. She doesn't know if Brax is still alive, she doesn't know why she has been taken, and she is terrified of the men who stole her from the restaurant. She soon learns that she is a victim of human trafficking; she is a 'gift' to a wealthy man in France.

Q, her new master, is rich and intimidating. He isn't cruel to her, but Tess can sense something dark, and not entirely unpleasant, beneath the surface. She knows she should feel angry, afraid, and disgusted, but she finds herself intrigued by Q. She wonders if this is the universe's way of punishing her for bothering sweet, gentle Brax about her dark fantasies.

As the tension between Tess and Q increases, she finds herself torn between giving in to her feelings for Q, or fighting them on Brax's behalf. When she is given the opportunity to escape, will she take it? Or has Q mesmerized her so much that she'd give up Brax, her family and friends, and her old life to stay with him?

I absolutely love reading books about kidnapping. I find them exciting and riveting. They keep me on the edge of my seat, unable to take my eyes off of the page. I also love erotic novels, especially when the steamy scenes are balanced enough with the story that I remain invested in the characters themselves. This book was a perfect combination of the two.

This book wasn't absolutely packed full of sex. No, the author took the time to build the tension, to get the reader hooked. There certainly was quite a bit of sexual tension, but the actual lengthy and descriptive erotic scenes were a little while into the book. I really appreciated this because it gave me time to get to know the characters as people, as individuals. The author focused on every aspect of who they were, past and present, and even what they wanted for the future. It gave me time to get emotionally involved in their stories.

The characters were so complex! Nobody was one hundred percent good or bad. Even Tess, the victim, had flaws and issues and dark ideas that complemented Q, the 'villain'. As for Q himself, his 'villain' status was constantly challenged by his mysterious actions, his desires, and the plot twists throughout the novel.

This book really played with my head. There were moments when I was absolutely shocked at what was going on, the next I was relieved after understanding the outcome of the situations. I understood Tess and her confusion around her feelings for Q; I kind of wanted her to escape and be with sweet, gentle Brax again, yet I could tell that Q had an intense hold on her, and that she desired him despite her situation. The plot twists throughout absolutely messed with me, and my perceptions of the characters.

As for the writing style, I have to admit that at the beginning of the book, I found the writing to be a little dry. But as I read, it got better and better. I hope that the rest of the series follows with this pattern; that it gets better and better as it goes.

I think it's important to discuss some of the rather dark themes explored in this book, so that readers are sure they won't get into something that might upset them. As I have mentioned, this book contains themes of kidnapping and human trafficking. There is also some rough BDSM, non-consensual sexual acts, along with consensual sexual acts. If you dislike erotica, this book isn't for you. If you get upset over fictional accounts of BDSM, rough sex, and manipulation (especially mental and psychological manipulation), this book will only serve to make you uncomfortable. There is also talk of dysfunctional families and abuse. Personally, none of these things bothered me but if you find books with these themes upsetting, you should probably avoid this one.

Over all, an exciting, intriguing, sexy read. I recommend this to fans of erotica, and to those who enjoy books containing kidnapping, BDSM, and complex characters. If you like plot twists and emotional novels, this book is for you.

Find Tears of Tess on Goodreads